British Airways was an early customer for the 787 when Boeing launched it in the form of the 787-8 and has been growing the fleet ever since. They now operate the -8, the -9 and the -10 versions. Their introduction allowed the retirement of the 767-300 fleet so the 787s are now the smallest of the widebodies (although the 787-10 has similar capacity to a 777-200ER). In Seattle, we tend to get the 787-9 or an occasional 787-10. However, Portland gets the 787-8 so, when I got to shoot one there, it was the first time I had seen a BA -8 in ages. They look quite stubby in comparison to the rest of the family.
I was running back through some older shots while experimenting with some processing techniques and was looking at some British Airways 747-400 shots. With them now retired from BA service, it was a moment of reflection to see the shots again. It was also a departure sequence which meant there was a good view of the way in which the QOTS main gear tucked away. A cool looking sequence but a lot less common these days. Thank goodness for the freighters and the remaining passenger jets.
As a youth, a British Airways 737 was a regular sight. The 200 series got a ton of use by BA and, in later years, the 400 series did a lot of work at Gatwick. The A320 family gradually displaced them all. However, Comair in South Africa flies in BA colors. They even had 727s in BA colors in days gone by. IAG, the parent of BA, signed a letter of intent with Boeing for 200 737 Max aircraft but this has not been turned into a firm order that I know of. However, Comair did order the Max and one of their aircraft was on test recently. I am not sure if it is still going to Comair or has been reallocated to another customer but it is still in British Airways markings – for now.
During the winter, I shot a British Airways 787 as it approached landing at Seattle Tacoma International. There was some low cloud base and it was just skirting the bottom of the clouds as it passed me by. It was appearing and disappearing from view within the clouds and, even when clear, was pulling a bit of vapor along with it! An all-white jet against a cloudy backdrop does not make for a contrasty shot but the elusive nature of the plane with such a background made the shots interesting to process.
A launch customer for the A320 was British Caledonian Airways. Unfortunately for those that liked Scottish themed airlines, BCal was bought by British Airways before the jets were delivered. I recall some dispute with Airbus about who would pay for the repaint of the first jet but maybe that is an urban legend. I think there were ten of them and BA took delivery. However, they were an orphan fleet for a long time in amongst all of the BA 737s and 757s.
That changed when BA went to an all A320 family short haul fleet breaking their long standing use of Boeing jets (plus some other stragglers). However, that cam much later. The earliest jets were A320-100s and these didn’t have the wing tip fences. The A320-200 followed very soon afterwards. Here are two shots of them. One is from 1988 with an A320 in BA’s Landor scheme on approach over my head to Gatwick. The other shot is a late in life shot of one of the earliest jets taken at Heathrow. These early examples are all gone now.
I saw the 787-10 development aircraft flying and caught a couple during the hurricane evacuation but I haven’t seen many in service. British Airways has started using their 787-10s on the Seattle run so, with some nice weather on a Sunday afternoon combined with a northerly flow, I decided to see whether I could get a decent Mt Rainier shot of one arriving. It was a warm day so heat haze was an issue but nothing can be done about that. They showed up on time so I grabbed some shots and retreated to the air conditioning of the car. This will be a regular sight in future so nothing significant about it but one to add to the archive.
More from the film scanning archive. I made a trip to the museum at RAF Cosford when I was visiting my friends Jon and Charlie in the area. Now Jon works there but at the time it was just an extra to my visit. At the time, British Airways had a collection of aircraft at the museum. This included lots of their older types in storage. Sadly, the cost of keeping the collection was not something BA management deemed worthwhile and they stopped funding it. The museum couldn’t afford to keep them up so they were scrapped on site. I wish I had a better record of them but this is all I have. Fortunately, others will have done better recording them.
I was out one evening awaiting the arrival of something that currently escapes my memory. In the meantime, I was in position to get the arrival of a few widebodies. Since SeaTac tends to put the widebodies on the inner runway, they are the ones you can get from this park location while almost everything else (plus the occasional wide body!) goes to the outer runway behind you and through the trees.
On this evening, we had four widebodies come in. Condor brought their regular 767 flight. This were joined by an Air China Cargo Boeing 747-400F, a FedEx 777F and last but by no means least, a British Airways 747-400. The evening light was very favorable and this location is both easily accessible and pretty good for this approach.
RIAT is known for special formations and British Airways has been part of them in the past. Concorde with the Red Arrows and an A380 with the Red Arrows spring to mind. For 2019 and BA’s 100th anniversary, they wanted to do something special. The focal point was to be the BOAC liveried 747-400. I shot this jet at SeaTac and covered it in this post. To see it in formation with the Red Arrows sounded pretty good. They put together two passes.
The first was from the right and involved a gentle turn in the direction of the crowd to give a slightly topside view of things. This was nice but the distance involved did mean there was a bit of heat haze to combat. The second pass in the other direction was a more straight pass along the display axis. The sun was popping in and out during this time so the colors popped sometimes and not others. It made for some tricky shooting but it still looked pretty good and it was nice to just watch when not shooting.
I was looking to get some midsummer shooting in at Vancouver. The day was a lovely one but the evening promised so overcast rolling in and that proved to be the case. However, I thought I would give things a go. The lack of the strong evening light was disappointing but it did actually make for some softer lighting conditions and things weren’t all bad. The evening culminated (at least for me) with three quick arrivals. An Edelweiss A340-300, a BA A380 and a China Airlines A350-900. I quite liked the conditions as they provided something slightly different. Clouds shouldn’t necessarily be a deterrent from an evening out shooting.